I believe we are near the point where we can say that tge current F2P approach simply is not working. I say "not working" in the sense that it has not grown the population in any meaningful way.
I really think that the F2P model should be .... expand the weapons that they can use. Not sure exactly how much to expand TBH. Maybe greatly. Then in exchange for that ... we do not permit them to select which side they play for. They only have the option to spawn underpop side.
Maybe even give them full access to all infantry units.
1) It is a great way for them to get their feet wet and feel like they have a fighting chance. Do not feel as if they are at a disadvantage by nature of the account type.
2) Hopefully by keeping them engaged, having fun, getting kills, etc, they will keep coming back. If they do ... eventually they will make friends in game, want to join squad, or prefer a side. At that point they seem primed to subscribe.
3) The current side balance system doesnt work all that great. But i promise you, this will!
4) F2P players will actually be much more useful in the sense they can help blow fbs, guard cps effectively, etc. A great way to learn.
5) Get rid of the stupid "Reserve" infantry class. CRS has it backwards. The Reserve equipment should be for paying subscribers!
6) This model should not impact your current subscriber base all that much. Most "vets" enjoy doing what they wanna do ... whether that is picking a side or playing in a squad, etc.
7) Also. F2P shouldnt get to drive tanks, fly planes IMO. They have suvs or DLC for that.
Best part about this solution is it works to solve 2 issues! Overall population, and balance.
Maybe this idea is out-dated due to DLC ... wish this would've been the model from the start because i think it would work much better.